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City changes setback rules for carports

Residents of The Dalles will soon be allowed to build carports closer to their property line.

Last week, the city council voted in favor of amending the Land Use and Development Ordinance to pare back the minimum setback for some structures from 5 feet to 30 inches.

Richard Gassman, director of the Community Development and Planning Department, made the recommendation for the change.

The code change will apply only to carports or other structures that are open on three sides, with a minimum number of support beams.

“It’s not a wall,” said Gassman.“This is an opportunity when we felt a little flexibility was warranted.”

He told the council at the July 22 meeting that the planning commission had asked for the change after having to deny a citizen request for a variance. He said the advisory panel had been left without an option because the request did not meet current criteria in the code.

He said ground level paving up to the property line was currently allowed so permitting landowners to erect a carport there made sense.

The purpose of having walled structures five feet from the property line, he said, was to provide firefighters with access around the building. He said that caution was not necessary with a carport because there was nothing to prevent emergency responders from moving freely around the space.

Gassman said utility easements “trump” setbacks and landowners will still be unable to build on that section of a lot.

The council voted unanimously July 22 to follow Gassman’s recommendation. Staff will now prepare an amended ordinance that will be brought back to the council for adoption at a future meeting.

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